A medieval Christian grave with a unique set of silver bracketed tombs

Categories: Nálezy nejenom s detektorem ve Skandinávii

An 800-year-old Christian tomb with a treasure trove of silver bractates has been discovered in the grounds of Brahekyrkan Church in Visingsö, Sweden. In the Middle Ages, Christians were rarely buried with grave goods, and it is very rare to discover a burial with more coins in this period. Moreover, some of the coins of this burial were unknown until now.

The find was made during the planned installation of a new geothermal heating system for the church in mid-March this year. The skeletal remains of an adult male, about 25 years old, were first discovered in the wiring shaft. On retrieving them, three silver coins were first found and others lay at the feet of the deceased. In total, about 170 silver single-sided minted bractes dating from 1150 to 1180 were discovered. Among them also a small number of Gotland double-sided coins. They are all very thin and some are made up of blank coins, so the exact number is not yet known.

The grave was located about 30 metres north of the medieval church wall. Archaeologists therefore initially thought that the deceased may have been someone who was not allowed to be buried in the consecrated ground of the church. Often suicides or the unbaptised were buried in this way. However, in the same excavation, a further 24 graves were subsequently discovered with the same spatial orientation, aligned with each other and buried at the same depth. This was an organised burial ground, which probably originally also had crosses and grave markings on its surface. None of the twenty-four burials had grave markers.

Archaeologists also found over 20 ancient hearths at the site. Previous excavations in 2005 had already uncovered three hearths dating from the Roman period between 50 and 400 AD. The newly discovered hearths have not yet been dated, but are likely to date from the same period.

The skeletal remains with the coin assemblage were only partially removed - only those that were at risk of damage from the ongoing earthworks. They will be respectfully re-interred after examination. Conservators will attempt to gently 'peel' the silver coins apart, clean and conserve them. They will then be presented to the professional and general public.

Roman Němec

Sources: bradenton.com, thehiustoryblog.com, miamiherald.com

in situ

just after removal from the ground

one of the coins in detail

a set of bracteates

in the museum

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